TORONTO, ON, Sept. 18, 2008 – The Catholic Civil Rights League today commented on the policy “Physicians and the Ontario Human Rights Code,” approved today by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario after consultation with the public.
“We’re pleased that the revised draft asserts the physician’s right to religious and conscientious objection,” said Joanne McGarry, League executive director. “The worst language from earlier drafts, including the assertion that doctors should “check their beliefs at the door” and could face misconduct charges for following the dictates of their religion and conscience, has been removed or toned down.”
Concerns remain. The draft continues to assert that physicians may “in some circumstances” be obliged to help patients make arrangements for morally controversial procedures. It continues to link this expectation to the possibility that patients can file complaints of discrimination with the college or the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The revised draft does make clear that the impetus for the policy comes from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, not the college.
The college received over 1,000 briefs during the draft review process. Respondents included doctors, bishops, clergy and organizations, including the League. Briefs supporting the restrictions in the earlier draft were received from some professional bodies, including the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons, which indicated it may alter its own policies to limit the right to exercise religious and conscientious objection.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; email@example.com